WUGC Team USA Tryouts 2016: Preview

WUGC 2016

All the years of playing, the months of preparation, the weeks of training — it all comes down to two days of tryouts. 210 men and women will compete with each other over the next two weekends for the chance to represent the United States at the World Ultimate Championships this summer in London.

The first stop is Phoenix, Arizona, where 106 athletes converge this weekend for the initial leg of tryouts. The coaches of the three teams — Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed — have a seemingly impossible task: whittle down a field of superstars until just 40% remain.

What You Need To Know

Coaching Staff

Men’s Team Coaches: Alex Ghesquiere, Ben Van Heuvelen
Mixed Team Coaches: Jake Henderson, Nancy Sun
Women’s Team Coaches: Matty Tsang, Andy Lovseth

Tryout Schedule

Saturday

10 – 10:15 AM: Introductions/Overview
10:15 – 10:45: Short Warmup
10:45 – 12:25: Drill Rotations
12:25 – 12:50: Mini Scrimmages
12:50 – 1:25: Lunch
1:30 – 1:50: Short Warmup
1:55 – 4:30: Scrimmage Rotations

Sunday

8:30 – 8:40 AM: Introduction
8:40 – 9:10: Short Warmup
9:10 – 9:30: Drills
9:30 – 12:55: Team-Specific Mini Scrimmages
12:55 – 1:25: Lunch
1:25 – 1:40: Short Warmup
1:40 – 3:30: Scrimmage

The Basics

This is the first time that USA Ultimate will hold nationwide tryouts1 and have coaches select the teams that represent the United States at WUGC. Although a similar process has been held in past years for the World Games team, WUGC teams have historically been comprised of the club team that wins the previous year’s National Championships (i.e. in the past, Revolver would have represented USA in the Men’s Division, Drag’N Thrust in Mixed, and Brute Squad in Women’s).

Many top players have been posting on social media — especially Twitter and Instagram — about their athletic training in preparation for tryouts.

Perhaps the biggest question is: how are coaches are going to assess so many talented players in such a short timeframe?

“It’s daunting,” said USA Men’s head coach Alex Ghesquiere. “How can I tell the difference between these people, all of whom are very, very good? What we’ve tried to do is put players in a lot of 1-on-1 situations.”

Ghesquiere said that they hope to create a lot of ‘iso’ scenarios — on under cuts, away cuts, and resets — in order to assess skills in a do-or-die situation. There will be plenty of mini scrimmages that also demand activity and punish weaknesses. They want to combine that with more traditional 7-on-7 scrimmages, which will better demonstrate chemistry and flow between players.

They also hope to challenge players’ fitness levels with long days and lots of running.

Ghesquiere said that the coaching staff is keeping a wide open mind heading into tryouts. There are “very few” players who could be considered locks to make the various teams. “I really haven’t jumped to any conclusions,” he said.

Three Big Questions

1. How much will it matter if you play on a great club team?

The obvious goal for Team USA is to win Worlds in every division. How do you best go about doing that? Should we expect to see large numbers of players from championship club teams on the National team? There remains an argument that sending Brute Squad or Revolver or Drag’N Thrust — teams with a great deal of experience playing together — is the optimal way to win. Sure, you could probably field a more talented team, but will the chemistry mesh?

Coaches may decide to select big chunks of players from top teams for the chemistry benefits. You could also imagine them thinking more about filling ‘quotas’ of players from various teams and regions.

2. Will most Mixed club players play on the Mixed team?

Of the 210 total players invited to tryouts, only 32 of them (19 women, 13 men) played last season in the Mixed Division. Will any of those players end up on the single gender teams? Did most express a desire to play Mixed? You have to imagine many of those asked to tryout will have a very good shot at making the mixed team.

Still, the talent disparity between the mixed and single gender divisions is fairly stark and reflected in the number of players invited to tryouts. Should predominantly mixed players — or those with a lot of mixed experience — get preferential treatment in the selection process for the Mixed team, or should the best players make the team, regardless of division? That’s going to be a tricky balancing act for the coaches.

3. What happens if a well-known great player has an awful tryout?

Statistically, this seems almost certain to happen. Some superstar player is going to lay an egg at tryouts. As a coach, how do you deal with that? Do they get the benefit of the doubt, because you know what they are capable of? Is that fair to the players who play well at tryouts, but aren’t as well-known?

Best Tryout Ever?

This may be the greatest tryout ever held in ultimate. Seriously. The World Games tryout list in 2013 was very impressive, but these tryouts will host more than twice as many players and feature much greater depth and breadth of talent. The fact that 84 roster spots — instead of 13 — are available also adds to the intrigue.

Ultiworld will have reporters Ian Toner and Daniel Prentice on hand in Phoenix and Orlando, respectively, along with videographers Justin Warnecke and Tim Vothang to document the action. Follow along on Ultiworld and @ultiworldlive for coverage of all the action at tryouts.

Tryout Attendees

Phoenix Tryouts

Men’s

NAMETEAMTRYOUT
Dan GillickBlackbirdWest
Mac TaylorBlackbirdWest
Ryan TuckerChad Larson ExperienceWest
Tyler BaconCondorsWest
Jeff LoskornDoublewideWest
Kiran ThomasDoublewideWest
Will DriscollDoublewideWest
Bennett LohreJohnny BravoWest
Ernest KonkerJohnny BravoWest
Hylke SniederJohnny BravoWest
Jackson KloorJohnny BravoWest
Jimmy MickleJohnny BravoWest
Ryan FarrellJohnny BravoWest
Sean KeeganJohnny BravoWest
Jack McShaneLove TractorWest
Walden NelsonMachineWest
Colin CampMadison ClubWest
Kevin BrownMadison ClubWest
Khalif El-SalaamMixtapeWest
Gregory MarliavePolar BearsWest
Jack MarshPoNYWest
Christian SimpsonPrairie FireWest
Jay FroudePrairie FireWest
Ashlin JoyeRevolverWest
Beau KittredgeRevolverWest
Cassidy RasmussenRevolverWest
Chris kosednarRevolverWest
Eli KernsRevolverWest
Joel SchlachetRevolverWest
Kevin CocksRevolverWest
Lucas DallmannRevolverWest
Marcelo SanchezRevolverWest
Martin CochranRevolverWest
Nathan WhiteRevolverWest
Robbie CahillRevolverWest
Russell WynneRevolverWest
Samuel KannerRevolverWest
Simon HigginsRevolverWest
Dylan FreechildRhinoWest
Eli FriedmanRhinoWest
Jacob JaninRhinoWest
Aly LenonSockeyeWest
Daniel KarlinskySockeyeWest
Duncan LinnSockeyeWest
Joseph SeftonSockeyeWest
Mark BurtonSockeyeWest
Matt RussellSockeyeWest
Matthew RehderSockeyeWest
Philip MurraySockeyeWest
Reid KossSockeyeWest
Steven MilardovichStreetgangWest
Byron LiuTurbineWest

Women’s

NAMETEAMTRYOUT
Kristen Pojunis7 FiguresWest
Sarah PeschChad Larson ExperienceWest
Leah FarrisDauntlessWest
Alex SnyderFuryWest
Anna NazarovFuryWest
Carolyn FinneyFuryWest
Claire DesmondFuryWest
Cree HowardFuryWest
Kaela JorgensonFuryWest
Lakshmi NarayanFuryWest
Lisa PitcaithleyFuryWest
Maggie RudenFuryWest
Manisha DaryaniFuryWest
Marika AustinFuryWest
Ness FajardoFuryWest
Sabrina FongFuryWest
Katie RyanGreen Means GoWest
Emily SmithMental Toss FlycoonsWest
Paige KercherMental Toss FlycoonsWest
Claire RevereMixtapeWest
Roberta AbbotMixtapeWest
Ashley Daly MorganMolly BrownWest
Dena SlatteryMolly BrownWest
Kirstin JohnsonMolly BrownWest
Lauren BoyleMolly BrownWest
Megan CousinsMolly BrownWest
Paige ApplegateMolly BrownWest
Rebecca MillerMolly BrownWest
Tina SnodgrassMolly BrownWest
Briana CahnNightlockWest
Claire SharmanNightlockWest
Loryn KanemaruNightlockWest
Marisa MeadPolar BearsWest
Morgan PaulsonPolar BearsWest
Calise CardenasRiotWest
Charlie Katie MercerRiotWest
Fiona McKibbenRiotWest
Hana KawaiRiotWest
Katy CraleyRiotWest
Kelly JohnsonRiotWest
Kristin EideRiotWest
Lauren SadlerRiotWest
Qxhna TitcombRiotWest
Rohre TitcombRiotWest
Sarah DavisRiotWest
Sarah GriffithRiotWest
Shannon O'MalleyRiotWest
Shira SternRiotWest
Alex OdeSchwaWest
Jesse ShofnerSchwaWest
Julia SherwoodSchwaWest
Katey ForthShowdownWest
Katherine KillebrewVivaWest
Caitlin FitzgeraldWickedWest

Orlando Tryouts

Men’s

NAMETEAMTRYOUT
Asa WilsonBucketEast
Christian OlsenChain LightningEast
Elliott EricksonChain LightningEast
Jason ClarkChain LightningEast
Brandon MalecekDoublewideEast
Kurt GibsonDoublewideEast
Austin LienDrag'n ThrustEast
Brian SchoenrockDrag'n ThrustEast
Jay DrescherDrag'n ThrustEast
Mike ClarkDrag'n ThrustEast
Chris LaRocqueFlorida UnitedEast
Michael MeilstrupHigh FiveEast
Alex SimmonsIronsideEast
Christian FosterIronsideEast
Daniel ClarkIronsideEast
Jack HatchettIronsideEast
John StubbsIronsideEast
Josh MarketteIronsideEast
Russell WallackIronsideEast
Tom AnnenIronsideEast
Owen WestbrookJohnny BravoEast
Bob LiuMachineEast
Brett MatzukaMachineEast
Jonathan HeltonMachineEast
Kevin KellyMachineEast
Dave WisemanMadison ClubEast
Patrick ShriwiseMadison ClubEast
Peter GraffyMadison ClubEast
Gabriel ColtonPatrolEast
Patrick DivineyPatrolEast
Chris KocherPoNYEast
Christopher MazurPoNYEast
Michael DrostPoNYEast
William KatzPoNYEast
Abe CoffinPrairie FireEast
Jonathan NethercuttRing of FireEast
Justin AllenRing of FireEast
Noah SaulRing of FireEast
Shane SiscoRing of FireEast
Jeffrey SmithSlow WhiteEast
Nicholas StuartSub ZeroEast
Simon MontagueSub ZeroEast
Alex ThorneTemperEast
Trent DillonTemperEast
Tyler DeGirolamoTemperEast
Alan KolickTruck StopEast
David CranstonTruck StopEast
Markham ShofnerTruck StopEast
Nathan CastineTruck StopEast
Nicholas SpivaTruck StopEast
Peter PrialTruck StopEast
Tom DoiTruck StopEast
Ian EnglerWild CardEast

Women’s

NAMETEAMTRYOUT
Allysha DixonAMPEast
Raha MozaffariAMPEast
Alexi ZalkBentEast
Megan RandallBentEast
Amber SinicropeBrute SquadEast
Becky MalinowskiBrute SquadEast
Cassandra WongBrute SquadEast
Claudia TajimaBrute SquadEast
Courtney KiesowBrute SquadEast
Emily BaecherBrute SquadEast
Kami GroomBrute SquadEast
Laura BittermanBrute SquadEast
Leila TunnellBrute SquadEast
Lien HoffmannBrute SquadEast
Magon LiuBrute SquadEast
Shellie CohenBrute SquadEast
Jessica LeDonneDishEast
Emily ReganDrag'n ThrustEast
Erica BakenDrag'n ThrustEast
Sarah AnciauxDrag'n ThrustEast
Sarah MeckstrothDrag'n ThrustEast
Elizabeth MinorHeistEast
Georgia BosscherHeistEast
Robyn WisemanHeistEast
Rebecca PoznanskyKODEast
Erynn SchroederMillersEast
Claire ChastainMolly BrownEast
Crystal DavisMolly BrownEast
Octavia PayneMolly BrownEast
Sally LambertMolly BrownEast
Hannah LeathersOzoneEast
Katherine WootenOzoneEast
Meg HarrisOzoneEast
Mira WalkerOzoneEast
Jessi JonesPhoenixEast
Alyssa WeatherfordRiotEast
Jaclyn VerzuhRiotEast
Jenny FeyScandalEast
Jessica O'ConnorScandalEast
Kathleen RatcliffScandalEast
Kelly HylandScandalEast
Molly RoyScandalEast
Sandy JorgensenScandalEast
Sarah ItohScandalEast
Michelle ArceneauxShowdownEast
Sarah LevinnShowdownEast
Sharon TsaoShowdownEast
India StubbsSlow WhiteEast
Brittany WinnerSteamboatEast
Alyson HeathWild CardEast
Katharine SullivanWild CardEast

  1. USAU’s Will Deaver spoke at length about the decision to switch to a tryout process on a recent episode of Deep Look — discussion starts at 15:32. 

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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